The International Betting Preview

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It is that time of the year! eSports fans around the world are getting excited as The International is just around the corner. Starting on Wednesday, August 3rd, The International 2016 is the biggest Dota2 tournament of the year and one that has the entire industry whispering and gossiping about this year’s competitors.

The prestigious tournament organized by Valve currently has a prize pool of $18.331.358 making it the largest tournament in eSports history already with a few more million expected to be added to the prize pool from the sales of compendiums in game before the tournament is over.

As you would expect, the biggest and most prestigious eSports teams will be competing for this prize pool in Seattle, where the event will be taking place. Six of the strongest teams got their invites, while most of the other elite teams have made their way into the tournament through the qualifiers.


The Invites

The invited teams include OG and Team Liquid who have truly impressed with their performances at this year’s tournaments, Na’Vi who have just won a tournament on American soil as well as Newbee, LGD Gaming and MVP Phoenix all of whom have rich histories of winning major Dota2 tournament in recent years, with Newbee being the 2014 TI champions.

Very shockingly, Team Secret and the reigning TI champions Evil Geniuses were both left out of the direct invites for the tournament, due to technicalities with roster changes. The absence of reigning champions in the direct invites is shocking and this is the first time it has happened in the history of the game. Fnatic also did’t receive an invite, possibly due to their horrible performance at this year’s Frankfurt Major.


The Qualifiers

For some teams, having to qualify for The International was a bit of a shock, most notably EG and Team Secret, while others will be happy to have made it through. EG and Digital Chaos topped the American Qualifiers, Wings Gaming and Vici Gaming Reborn were the best in China, Team Secret and Alliance beat the other European teams to the two spots, while TnC Gaming and Fnatic pushed through from the Southeast Asia Qualifiers.

These are all very strong teams and it is expected that with all these teams competing, this years The International will be a very exciting affair full of surprises and upsets. Of the notable teams who didn’t qualify, the two most notable names are certainly Team Empire and Virtus Pro, who have actually lost their sponsor and disbanded the team due to not managing to qualify.


The Wild Cards

The third placed team from each of the four qualifiers became the Wild Cards, getting one last chance to compete in The International. Before the Main Event can start, compLexity Gaming, EHOME, Escape Gaming and Execration will get to fight amongst each other’s for the final two spots in the round robbing stage.

The matches are set to be played just before the main event in the live arena in Seattle and will see two unlucky teams go back home, while the winners of the two brackets will qualify for the Main Event and have their shot at a piece of what is expected to be a $20.000.000 prize pool.

Betting on which teams will make it from the three Wild Cards is probably not a great idea given the current odds the bookies have set. With EHOME at 1/5, compLexity at 11/20, Esc at 7/10 and Excration at 4/1, it is really difficult to find a value bet, given that three teams are set at under 2/1, only 2 can make it and the draw has not yet been made. I would much rather save my bets for the outright winners.


The Participating Teams

So let us look at the individual participating teams, their odds and their realistic chances of making it big at this year’s The International. We will look at some of the teams in order of the current bookies odds.

OG: Winning two Majors in under 1 year and doing extremely well in the other tournaments of the year, OG have amassed winnings worth close to $3.000.000 since November 2015, an impressive feat without a doubt. The mixed European team has become the first ever team to win two official Valve events in history and stand as the biggest favorite of this year’s The International.

With pretty much every team in this year’s TI being defeated by OG at some point in the last 9 months, since OG have come together, it is hard not to expect them to crush in this tournament. That said, The International is always an affair full of exciting upsets and unexpected results. Will they be able to pull it off remains to be seen but the bookies are heavily favoring them with the 11/5 odds to win outright.

Team Liquid: Another mixed European team, Team Liquid have had a very successful last year, with wins eluding them in several major events such as The Manila Major and The Shanghai Major, both of which they finished in second places. Team Liquid are certainly a team on the rise and we expect great things from them at The International.

That said, the lack of wins in recent events, barring the win at EIPCETER make me reluctant to say that I expect them to actually win TI. We can expect to see them make final four and possibly the finals, but the likes of OG and Newbee are likely to make it very difficult for Team Liquid. The bookies have Team Liquid at 4/1 to win outright but I don’t see this as a value bet.

NewBee: The all-Chinese crew who won the 2014 The International for over $5.000.000 are back for another shot at the biggest prize in the eSports world. A common downfall of eSports teams seems to be the lack of discipline, and NewBee are a great example of this as we saw them perform quite poorly after winning the 5 million back in 2014. Their combined winnings since then don’t amount to even a million dollars, but it may be time for NewBee to take things seriously again.

I expect their result to depend greatly on whether or not they take this event full on and how ready they come and their very recent win at the Nanyang Dota2 Championships Season 2 may be a sign that they have started to practice hard for The International. The bookies have them at 6/1 and if you believe the Chinese side will take this tournament on with their full capacity then they may be the ones to place your money on.

Team Secret: With quite an impressive string of Premier Tier tournament wins and over $3.7 million in tournament earnings to date, Team Secret are a force to be reckoned with. The international players roster have not yet had a chance to shine at an International and we expect they will do their best to show what they have this time around. Just yesterday, they came second to Na’Vi at the i-League StarSeries Season 2 and while it may have been a disappointing defeat, they did show they are in form and ready to take on the best teams in the world.

If you place your money on them to win outright, the bookies will pay $7 on every $1 wagered and the 7/1 odds are quite generous for a team of such stature. Is it realistic to expect them to win? Maybe not, but it certainly isn’t out of the question either.

Evil Geniuses: Coming third at the 2014 TI and winning the 2015 edition for $6.6 million, Evil Geniuses were and remain one of the finest Dota2 teams out there. The American crew have had limited success following the last TI as is usually the case with young people winning a lot of money, but two third places in recent Majors and a win at last year’s Summit 4 certainly do point to them still being relevant in the game.

The team has made changes in their roster that has caused them to not receive a direct invite for the tournament and if we look historically, previous TI winners don’t have a record of doing well in this tournament. However, at 10/1 which is what the bookies are offering on EG to win outright, this has to be a solid bet by any standard.

Natus Vincere: Na’Vi have been around for quite a while and have some serious track record to speak for them. They won the 2011 TI, following it up with two runner-ups finishes. More recently, they split the 8th place in the 2014 TI and have done well in some other Premier Tier tournaments, but definitely have been sub-par in the last year or two.

While it may not be very realistic to expect them to just win it outright, the 20/1 odds offered at Betway sound more than appealing on a team with such great experience and history. Even more, Na’Vi have just won the last tournament to be organized before The International on American Soil, the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 2 for $135.000, beating Team Secret in the finals. You can expect Na’Vi to make a good performance and at 20/1 making an outright bet can’t be a bad pick. In fact, I would say there is plenty of value in betting this option.

Fnatic: Qualifying through the SE Asia qualifiers, Fnatic have made it into their second TI in a row. While they have been a major player on the Dota2 scene in the last 2 years, their lack of wins or finals is not very encouraging. Fnatic have a solid chance of winning some matches and possibly earning some solid cash, but their chances of winning the entire thing are slim to none.

The bookies have set the odds at 50/1 on Fnatic to win it outright, but it is really hard to see them winning this even once out of 50 attempts with their current roster, form and recent performances. I expect Fnatic to make top 8 at best before meeting their match and bursting out of the show.

CompLexity: Unable to take one of the top two spots in the American Qualifiers, CompLexity will have to fight for their spot in the Main Event as a Wild Card. CompLexity are offered at 100/1 at Betway and while these are some really great odds, I would not expect the current lineup of Swedish and American players to make any major upsets, and even their qualification for the tournament is questionable. Betway is offerin 11/20 on them to qualify through the Wild Card playoff, so if you are looking to support CompLexity, this is probably a better one to make.

Execration: Made up exclusively of Philippines players, Execration have never really made any major Premier Tier results and if they can make it into the tournament as a Wild Card they will be looking at the biggest cash of their careers.

If we are talking outright winning the tournament, the option is offered at 500/1 and even this is probably nowhere close to reality as it is nearly impossible for such a small team to make such a huge upset. If we are talking making it into the main event, the 5/1 odds offered on them winning one of the two Wild Card brackets are absolutely worth it as they only need to surprise one of the two opponents and all three potential opponents are not in the best for of their lives.


Our Predictions: What To Expect

The International is possibly the hardest tournament of the year to predict as the teams come with new strategies and tactics they have been saving just for The International and the teams you would not expect put up their best performances hoping to catch the glory and the money prize that comes with winning this prestigious event.

While the odds favorites such as OG and Team Liquid are all expected to put in the maximum effort, it may easily be one of the teams you would least expect to take it down. Clearly if you asked us who we think will win it, we would have to say OG but the odds of 11/5 on a straight up win simply don’t quite add up for such a huge event.

Considering the entire history, recent performances and the odds, I would say best value bets come from NewBee at 6/1 and Natus Vincere at 20/1 to win the event, the NewBee one being the more realistic choice, and Na’Vi to win being a great option for the more adventurous of the gamblers. Still, if you just want to make a safe bet, than go with OG but don’t expect they will just take it down because they have been doing well lately. Remember, this is The International and everyone will be gunning hard for the first place prize.


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